Senior center without walls
increasing connections, one call at the time
by Amber Carroll, Director Senior Center Without Walls
Over the last couple of years, we’re seeing more and more articles about loneliness and social isolation amongst older adults. The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, AARP Foundation, Fast Company, Time Magazine (and the list goes on and on and on) are paying attention to what we historically chose to ignore. Not only are more older adults experiencing this phenomenon, but research is showing that the effects of loneliness and social isolation have very real (and very expensive) physical and mental health outcomes.
As a Village member, you understand the value of engaging your mind, heart, and body. You understand that aging in place requires a strong, supportive community around you. You understand that you don’t need to go through the aging process alone.
Episcopal Senior Communities understands this well. In 2004, Terry Englehart created a solution that connected older adults who were no longer able to attend community events. Once a week, for 30 minutes, six women convened on a conference call. Over the course of a few weeks, these women became friends and wanted to expand the number of times they connected. From that simple idea, Senior Center Without Walls (seniorcenterwithoutwalls.org) was born. Those six women told their friends, facilitated their own groups, and brought us to where we are today — with almost 1,000 participants across 34 states.
Every week, participants from across the country can find companionship, information, and intellectual stimulation through over 70 diverse group activities including health & wellness presentations, museum tours, armchair travel, brain health, games, friendly conversation, support groups, and other special events. Live groups are accessible everyday – including weekends and holidays - and are offered free of charge to registered participants.
It’s encouraging to know that more and more attention is being paid to older adults in our community and to the experience of aging. It’s also comforting to know that solutions to loneliness and social isolation can be simple, and involve as little as a phone and an interested community. A recent survey showed that the majority of SCWW members reported increased social connections, intellectual stimulation, and improved mental health. A full 35% of participants reported improved physical health as well!
If you are interested in participating in SCWW, or sharing your own skills, hobbies, or passions as a Group Facilitator, please contact Senior Center Without Walls today:
Fall session begins October 10th!
Amber Carroll, MFT is the Director of Senior Center Without Walls, a Community Service of Episcopal Senior Communities.